EU regulator determines Meta’s ad practices are illegal, Meta fined $414 million
The decision comes after the EU’s Meta regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commission, determined that Meta violated data privacy law. EU authorities said that the company virtually forced users to comply with personalized ads, which uses their data, by placing the notice in its terms of service agreement, according to the Times.
According to Reuters, Meta plans to appeal the decision and the fines the commission imposed.
What restrictions did Meta violate?
In 2018, data privacy in the EU gained even more protection with the passing of a law that prohibited companies like Facebook and Instagram from collecting personal data without users’ consent, per The New York Times.
In burying the notice in the notoriously lengthy terms of service agreement, users essentially forfeited their right to data privacy, unbeknown to them at the time.
According to CBS News, Meta attempted to circumvent this law by relying on the “contract” legal basis, meaning they hoped that placing legal consent in the terms of service agreement would constitute the required consent.
The commission, having originally agreed with Meta, reversed its decision and declared that Meta “is not entitled to rely on the ‘contract’ legal basis to deliver behavioral adverts on Facebook and Instagram,” per CBS News.
What does this decision mean for Meta?
Due to the regulator’s decision, Meta must reconfigure its ad practices. Along with the $414 million fine, the company now faces more pressure to increase and recoup its ad revenue.
According to Politico, Meta must figure out a way to legally create a targeted ad experience, one in which consent is not buried in a long contract most people merely skim.
Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems said, “This is a huge blow to Meta’s profits in the EU. People now need to be asked if they want their data to be used for ads or not,” per Politico.